Sunday, March 25, 2012

3 and 3

The grief never really goes away. Of 3 years and 3 months of trying to add a child into our marriage. Of believing that I could manipulate my body into doing my bidding. Of disappointment, of tears. Of the knowledge that it would never "just happen."

I've been dwelling on milestones a lot today. Had our IVF worked, I'd be 18 weeks along. We'd be finding out the gender of our child (or rather, I'd be arguing with Dr Boy over choosing to find out the gender of our child). I'm trying to garner excitement and support for those who I cycled with in December that are enjoying this milestone, but I have this nagging inside me that it's a fake smile and forced words coming out.

Had our last FET not resulted in a chemical, I'd be sure that our baby had a heartbeat. We'd have seen it, heard it. We'd possibly be graduating from the RE. We'd have less than a 5 percent chance of miscarriage.

I'm happy for all the ladies who I've cycled with and are out of the race. I really am. I'm just struggling with the "sad for me" part today*. I really am. The sadz are setting in hard core.

Dr Boy and I go to our first u/s and bloodwork appointment tomorrow for FET #2. Number two. Transfer number three. Our third set of embies. We'll be half way through our frozen stash, deeper in if some don't survive thaw. We're down to lower quality embies.

It's all a numbers game. And we, like so many of you, are NOT on the side of the numbers. Maybe just once, maybe this time, we will.

*it doesn't help that I hosted an infertility meetup brunch today, and I was stood up by the ladies who RSVP-ed yes. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ah burnt mah boobsicle

Yup, it was the first warm-ish and gorgeous day out here in sunny CA in a couple weeks, and my dumb butt goes and burns her decolletage while enjoying a lunch outdoors. Genius. Rockstar. Awesomesauce.

Hello, to all you ICLWers out there! Welcome to my world of failed IUIs, a failed fresh IVF cycle, and a chemical pregnancy from our first FET. You've caught me on the precipice of starting meds for our second FET, which will luckily be taking place with barely just enough time to get betas back before traveling out of the country. I look forward to reading many of your stories and meeting new friends out there to cheer on! For more on our story, check out the "Behind the Madness" and "Making a mini-Meier" tabs... you'll get all the sordid details.

When last you heard from me, I was in a pretty awesome depressive spiral about our chemical pregnancy, the one that felt like it would NEVER END. We had our SEVENTH beta this past Monday, and incredibly luckily, are finally off that train. Beta's officially back below 5, and I immediately took my first BCP for FET round 2. After a lot of support from Dr Boy, my family, good friends, and wine with The Womb Warrior, I was ready for whatever outcome the blood test gave us, but am thrilled at what did.

Our next protocol will be pretty tight, as I mentioned. Twelve BCPs, a couple of weeks of estrace suppositories, a few estradiol valerate shots here and there, and an official transfer date of April 23rd. A mere four weeks and four days away. (note the lack of lupron in our plan... SO HAPPY) Our first beta will be on April 30th, and the second on May 2nd. We're wheels up for lands afar at 9:30am on May 3rd. Hope the embies like to travel! I'll post our nicely color coded calendar tomorrow :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

I want off.

I'm really just tired of this. My sixth (fifth? seventh? who knows?) beta came back at 22 today. I don't know for sure, but I don't think this is low enough for me to start BCP for our next FET. And it certainly doesn't mean that good 'ol flow has left the building, or that her besties crampy and bitchy have flown the coop. Today is day 8 of my period- never in my life has it lasted this long. And it's still full on- not crappy annoying spotting.

For anyone that's had a chemical- how long did your withdrawal bleed from progesterone last (or your period if you weren't on supplemental meds)? Because this is effing ridic.

Also ridic? It's been 12 effing days since I stopped progesterone and estradiol. 12 days ago, my beta was 50. Seven days ago, it was 44. Today, 22. Why. So. Damn. Long. To. Drop????

I'm sorry I keep complaining about this whole deal, but I just don't feel like I can move on, and my body is fully supporting that situation. And we're running out of time to fit another FET in before our vaca in May. It's like I'm stuck on this hamster wheel and can't quite make it stop spinning.

I know I said I wanted to be pregnant by the time I turned 30 (which is tomorrow), but I clearly should have been more direct in that wish. You would have thought I learned my lesson when I wasn't clear enough with Santa. What I should have said was that I wanted to be pregnant with my take-home-baby by the time I turned 30.

Not biochemically pregnant and waiting for my HCG to drop back to "not pregnant" levels. Definitely not that.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chemical WTF Appt (& gross picture)

Our appointment went well today. I do have to give my RE credit- he makes our WTF appointments very calming and relaxed***. He answers my questions fully, and takes my crazy seriously. Without overtly telling me I'm a freak. (always a bonus) He started out telling me that, obviously, they're all very sorry it ended up this way, but that he's glad we discontinued medication last week as he suggested. Talked about how in the vast majority of cases, chemical pregnancies are an embryo problem, not something stemming from the uterine environment. There is some weak evidence that these embryo problems occur more frequently in PCOS patients, but that whether it is or isn't, there's no reason we shouldn't keep going the way we are. I know he brought up more than that, but I just can't remember what exactly.

We talked about our next cycle- the one we will get to do in APRIL. Heck yeah. Next time the nurse freaks me out about waiting forever and a half to get back on the horse, please remind me that TWICE they've said that and TWICE the RE said we could pick right back up. Please. Remind me.

It felt like this is trying to claw its way out of my uterus.
Also, it's what I feel like I turn into while on Lupron. X-Files FTW!
AND! The reason I have a porta potty fear and can't step on shower drains.
Basically, we're going to test my HCG on Monday, and if we're back to not-pregnant status start BCP. Judging by what's turned into quite the vigorously painful AF from hell, he fully expects us to be back under 5 by then. I'll be on BCP for 2-3 weeks, then start estrace fun when CD1 arrives. We will NOT BE DOING LUPRON (what what!) this time around. He's pretty darned sure the estrogen and my shitty ovaries will keep me sufficiently suppressed, but in the event that a follie forms, we'll cancel and try again next cycle.

This is an acceptable risk for us. With the level of batshit crazy I developed while cycling on lupron, it is far more worth delaying ourselves a month than risking it again. I have no desire to go back on antidepressants, and I know that is exactly where I would have ended up had I needed that injection of liquid depression. He said it's a very small risk given my history, and we will gladly take it. Plus, he said the lack of suppression may actually help my lining develop a little better this time around. Win win for everyone!

I asked about repeating the HSG or saline sonogram just to make sure the ute is all cleared out from this month's debacle, and he was completely on board. We'll schedule that on Monday.

I also asked about IV intralipid therapy- and he's actually not really super keen on it. In fact, he split up with a previous practice he was working at in the early 90's because of a disagreement over its use. In his opinion, the benefits are not strongly enough proven that they overcome the risks involved. He did seem very knowledgeable about the procedure and all, just doesn't advocate it as a tool to increase chances of obtaining a healthy pregnancy. At least we'll save money there!

He also fully supported my trips to the acupuncturist through the entire cycle (including the pre and post transfer visits) which makes me happy. If nothing else, he appreciates it for its calming qualities.

We'll deal with an exact calendar when my SIXTH beta comes back on Monday, but we are good to go for some time in the end of April. Two day 6 embies, provided they survive the thaw. If not, we'll use one of the day 7s (right now we have 3 day 6's and 3 day 7's).

Before we leave for our vacation, we'll know.

This makes me very. very. very. happy.

*** He may have also been placating me so I keep bringing them "I'm not mad at you for failing to get me pregnant" treats. I brought homemade english toffee for our Dec cycle, and these chocolate covered pretzels this time around.
Trader Joes Honey Wheat + Chocolate = Awesome

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Troubles Fly Away

Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away, all the same, knowing she has wings.
-Victor Hugo
I received a beautiful little necklace from my bestest friend N for Christmas. It arrived on this card:
With the above quote on the back of the card. It was meant to help lift me up after our IVF fail, an incredibly thoughtful gesture. I was cleaning out our bedroom last night (preparing for my family's visit this weekend yay), and found the necklace that I had *meant* to put with my jewelry. Of course, it made me cry. Because it's just as appropriate, if not more so, right around now.

Since Sunday, I've hardly been able to keep the tears at bay for longer than two or three hours. I was making dinner last night, and as soon as Dr Boy walked in the door home from work, I lost it. Full on shirt-drenching sobs while my hands were covered in shredded chicken**.
I think I was set off by the fact that he won't let me get a consolation puppy for my birthday.

No, but seriously, I've felt like I'm doing this precarious balance of trying to hold it together, and it's just not working very well. When I pulled this necklace out of the pile last night, I knew I'd wear it today.

And you know what? I haven't cried yet.

** In an attempt to be frugal I bought a cheap whole chicken on clearance, roasted it, and shredded the meat. THIS IS SO EFFING GROSS. My newly meat-eating sensibilities were seriously harmed by pulling out the giblets, and I almost vommed when I reached the spine. Nastysauce.

I did, however, manage to find the wishbone. Dr Boy and I pulled, and he won. But right now? I'm not upset it's not my wish heading on up- I'm fairly certain we're on the same page.
I held onto the weak-link right side. Sigh.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Less pregnant (CD1)

Just another Manic Monday... whoaaaaaa ohhhhhhh.... Otherwise known as the best Monday ever. Let me count the ways!

- I woke up to AF this morning. An hour before my alarm went off (yay!) I'm actually pretty surprised- she arrived crampless and without any particular fanfare. I'm hoping things stay that way because if so, this will be WAY less horrific than I had imagined. Actually, I kindof wish she'd just get on with things so this doesn't drag out too. But whatever. At least I didn't need to take my heating pad to work with me, right?

- My colleague's wife went into labor last night. Plus side? I don't have to listen to people asking him all day if she's popped yet. AND he'll be taking a month off. I can handle that.

- Blood draw took sticking and fishing in both arms today. The bruises are going to be EPIC.

- Leaving the lab for my FIFTH beta, there was a newborn and I lost my shit for the second time in ten minutes (the first was in the blood draw chair).

- Found out my beta dropped from 50 on Thursday, to 44 today. At least we're not actively growing anything anymore. I guess that's some good-ish news, right?

- IVF nurse called to give me my beta results, and seems to think I still need to cycle naturally after this PIO withdrawl bleed. This confuses me immensely. Because I don't cycle. It takes 60 effing days. And we're working with a deadline- I'll be out of the country May 3-13, so it's either April or June, no in between for us. Must. Get. Show. On. Road. If we have to cycle "naturally", I'm def out until June. And I will lose my shit again and get pretty crazy for the next three months.

- Wednesday's ultrasound was converted to a regular old WTF appointment to talk about our next cycle. Specifically, the GET IT DONE ASAP point. And the NO LUPRON point. And the Maybe we can do a saline sono to make sure there isn't anything left up in there point. Any other points I should cover?

- I discovered approximately one thousand mosquito bites on my feet and ankles from wearing flip flops all weekend. Curses!!!

So yeah. Best. Monday. Ever.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Calling it quits

My beta came back at a 50. A perfect double would have been 56, so while we're just barely below that, we really *should* be in the thousands at this stage in the game. Our RE spoke to the other IVF doc in the practice, and they both agreed that in their opinion, nothing good is growing inside of me. Nothing that I can take home and snuggle in 8 months or so. That the progesterone and estrogen were likely the only thing keeping this thing from expelling itself. (now that's a fun mental image, huh?)

He recommended we stop our meds, and ordered a repeat beta on Monday because now we have to track the hcg back down to zero. He did, however, give us the option of continuing meds, and getting an u/s on Wednesday (5 weeks 6 days) to see what's growing.

This option is appealing. And tempting. It would let me ignore the fact that I'm only fake pregnant for another week, and keep hoping hoping hoping that they're all wrong. And I would have an ANSWER! More DATA! I loves me some data. I'm addicted to MORE INFORMATION, and if this would get us that, why wouldn't we subject me to 8 more IM injections and 24 pills up the lady bits?

Here's another look at my crying digs. Not bad, eh? Except for the sound of people peeing. And pooping.

I spent the last half hour of work sobbing in the bathroom. I called my nurse to see some potential calendar options for our next FET. I scared her with my sobs when she gave me MUCH LATER dates than I was expecting (like, in June). I talked to Dr Boy. I tweeted. I threw wads of snotty toilet paper at the lockers.

And then I pulled myself together, and drove home. Oh, except I didn't bring a rain jacket and hit pretty much the only burst of rain in the county while getting to my car. But the rain was worth it because I was greeted by this view on the way.
I'm a sucker for a gorgeous cloud, what can I say.
I curled up in my pajamas in bed and watched a movie until Dr Boy came home. And we talked. We talked about the pro's of continuing. Of knowing, of the one in a million chance of this being ok. We talked about the con's. Of postponing the inevitable, of dragging out the pain, of the possible physical ramifications of purposely supporting an non-viable pregnancy for longer.

And we decided to stop the meds. If it's an ectopic, it'll probably survive me cycling out (CD1 will probs be Monday). If it's a blighted ovum, it *should* go away with my withdrawal bleed. So really, we'll have our answer. And if my HCG still climbs on Monday, we have the Wed u/s appt to take a peek. I truly, truly hope that isn't necessary.

At this point, we're both just ready for this to go away. For this to end. To heal, regroup, and start over.

I wanted to believe that this would turn out ok. That we'd be the friend of a friend of a friend. But our doctors, and really us too, just don't feel that's going to be the case anymore.

So it's time to let go.

Also, in case you were wondering, this is what the amazon cheapie Wondofo's look like at our beta values. Note that a line showed up with a beta under 10 (or around 10 if you account for the time lag). So yeah, they ARE pretty damn sensitive. And I apologize for ever thinking they aren't.

- 10dp6dt was an hcg of 7 plus 36 hrs
 (to further prove my non-viable point, here's a girl whose HCG at 16dpo knocks mine OUT OF THE PARK)
- 12dp6dt was an hcg of 14
- 15dp6dt was an hcg of 50
At 20 cents a pop, they're just BEGGING to be peed on.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

5 weeks "Pregnant" (15dp6dt, 4th beta)

Awww, how naive I was at 13dpo, thinking that a negative beta meant a negative beta. So young, so impressionable.

I think it's funny that today, at 21dpo, I am technically 5 weeks pregnant. I still have positive hpt's, positive beta's, just not positive *enough*. Our line isn't getting too much darker, and is still way lighter than the control line. You don't have to squint or adjust the contrast on photos, though, so that's something.

I had my blood drawn this morning, and despite needing two of those rubber bandy thingies to constrict my upper arm, it blissfully required only one poke (chronically deep and difficult veins). We'll see what we see in a few hours when the results come in. When I spoke to the RE on Monday, he said we're looking for something over 60 AT LEAST, but he'd like to see something closer to 100. Even that's not a guarantee though, as we could still be dealing with a blighted ovum or ectopic. All super fun options.

I find myself focused on the phrase "product of conception" today. Because we did, you know, conceive. We have something, comprised of Dr Boy's and my DNA, growing inside of me. It's giving me intense lower abdominal cramps, it's making my nipples ridiculously sensitive, and it's turning my nose into the Super Sniffer. It might not be our take home baby, but it's there. And that freaks me out. Hence the 5 weeks "pregnant". Because I am. I'm terrified of what we're going to need to do to make this go away, if it isn't anything good. Cancer drugs? D&C? Is "it" even big enough for that? All of these thoughts terrify me and make me indescribably full of sorrow. It makes me want to just ride it out, as if time is all we need for the outcome to change.

I never thought I'd wish for a plain and simple negative beta. Never in a million years.

Sad Face. (also, the bathroom I cry in at work)